Plateaus and Fat Loss

“When you lose weight, you lose fat cells.” This is not true.

“When you exercise, you burn fat.” Also not true.

These two false statements are in not only advertising you see for all the wonder diet pills, supplements, and exercise videos out there, but have been burned into our brains by an education system that was being fed bullshit from the government that was, in turn, being paid to spew this bullshit by the different food lobbies.

Milk does a body good. Remember that huge campaign in the 80’s? Turns out that milk isn’t so awesome for the body. But the government said it was, so it’s true, right? Well, when you find out that the milk lobby paid for that entire campaign, things start to get muddy a bit. (Source)

So, who can we believe?

That’s the million dollar question. I don’t, for even a second, believe that you should read everything I write and believe it hook, line, and sinker. That’s why I post sources on most everything I write. If there’s no source, you can take it or leave it. If there’s a source, you should follow it, read it, and come to your own conclusions as to whether it’s right or needs more investigating.

Back to the issue at hand: getting rid of fat cells.

That’s our goal, right? Lose the weight, and in the process, lose the bulk. It goes to reason that losing weight means we’re getting rid of fat, and thus, we get skinnier because the mass that the stored fat takes is being flushed away, right?

When you “lose” body fat, the fat cell (also called an adipocyte) does not go anywhere or “move into the muscle cell to be burned. The fat cell itself, (unfortunately) stays right where it was – under the skin in your thighs, stomach, hips, arms, etc., and on top of the muscles – which is why you can’t see muscle “definition” when your body fat is high. (Source)

Read that article. The whole thing. It explains, very clearly and concisely, what happens as we take fat from the fat cells, how that fat is released into the blood stream, and used in our cells for energy. Seriously read it now. I’ll wait.

OK, you feel smarter now, right? You should, because that’s some excellent writing about a highly complex process and goes to explaining something we should all have been taught from an early age.

The bottom line is this: You don’t “burn” cells fat away. Having a calorie deficit and creating an environment in your cells to need more energy than is available to them through your caloric intake forces your fat cells to release fat into your bloodstream that then travels to the cells that need the energy and is used up. Then, the fat that was stored in those cells decreases, and we “lose weight.” Sadly, those fat cells remain, only deflated. As someone who got as huge as I did, that means that I likely multiplied the number of fat cells I had, and it’s possible that most of those additional fat cells will remain. That will keep me from getting skinny-skinny, but that’s okay. As long as I get to a healthy weight and can stay fit, I’ll be happy with that. I have no allusions of being as skinny or good looking as I was when I was 21, and neither should you. That ship has sailed over 27 years ago for me, and likely has for you, too (unless you’re 21, in which case, get on it! You still have a chance!)

a11gxMe, when I was 21. I looked a lot like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story.”

So, here I sit, having lost a solid 2 lbs last night to get down to my new low of 221.8 lbs. I’m almost into the 2-teens! Each new block of 10 lbs is like a wrung on a ladder, and I’m happily climbing down into more comfortable weights.

Speaking of weight: I hit a plateau for the past few days. It was tough mentally, but I stuck to my guns, didn’t allow myself to get depressed or sad, and I did as much as I could to occupy my mind and to keep busy to not concentrate on the lack of weight loss. That included painting one of my garden gnomes who had lost most of his paint due to the weather.


This time, I wasn’t losing any bulk either. It was a double-whammy of bad news for me. Then, this morning, not only did I find that I lost those solid 2 lbs, but my pants, shirt, and even jacket felt looser. Not just a little; a lot! I just bought new pants last weekend, and already, I have a spare inch. I must wear a belt now with my size 38 pants or they will fall off me. This is exciting (and expensive). This is what I want to see, and since I track my weight like a nerd (because I am, in fact, a nerd), I can see that I’m still on-track for my 11 lb/month average weight loss. This means that I will be at or past my goal by my birthday if I can sustain this rate of loss as I have for the past 5 months!

Got questions? Need motivation? Want to talk via email or private message? What do you think of what I wrote today? Leave a comment, or email me today! Let’s talk!

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